Australian Bred Roses

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Although there has been a long history of rose breeding in Australia, most of the new roses released in this country have been brought in from overseas. Maureen Ross, of Ross Roses at Willunga in South Australia, said that the reason we have not had good Australian roses is that nobody has been prepared to market them. The Centenary of Federation prompted Ross Roses to put their marketing expertise behind Australian bred roses. They selected and trialled a large number of hybrid teas, floribundas, shrub roses, groundcovers and ruffled, English-style roses. They selected 14 roses from 11 amateur breeders across Australia, and put them together to form their ‘True Blue’ collection. Roses in the collection were chosen because they are:

  • Free flowering (some flower into mid-winter)
  • Able to withstand Australian climate extremes (40°C heat in summer)
  • Attractive bushes with neat, compact growth habits
  • Low maintenance (with minimal pruning required
  • Perfumed
  • Resistant to disease

Roses grow well in most areas of Australia, but become more susceptible to disease in humid climates.

Maureen said that roses in the True Blue collection are as good or better than what is currently on the market, and will stand up against the world’s best roses.
True Blue Collection

The collection includes the following roses:

‘Howard Florey’
Released in 1998, this floribunda rose has prolific clusters of rich apricot blooms and attractive bronze new growth. It grows to around 1m (3′) tall and makes a good standard or low hedge. This is one variety that needs no regular pruning.


This upright, bushy, hybrid tea rose grows to about 1.2m (4′) tall. It has long lasting, lemon to buttercup blooms in small clusters. This plant is very disease resistant.

‘Wildfire 2000’
A low growing, dense bush to 1m (3′) tall. The flowers are golden yellow flushed with red. This rose withstands hot conditions well.

‘Australia Fair’

The Australian Rose of the Year 2001 (celebrating the Centenary of Federation). It is a floribunda with healthy, compact growth to 1m (3′) high. It is constantly in flower with a multitude of soft pink flowers.

This shrub rose grows to 1.5m (5′) and has large, soft, apricot-pink blooms. The flowers have a strong, spicy to ‘true rose’ scent. ‘Onkaparinga’ is disease resistant, long flowering and stands up to heavy frost. The romantic, ruffled blooms would be ideal in wedding bouquets.

Named after the Antarctic explorer, ‘Mawson’ is a smaller, more compact form of ‘Iceberg’. It has small, semi-double, fragrant white flowers on an almost thornless bush to 1m (3′) tall. It is very disease resistant. The flowers can develop a pink tinge in winter.

A dense groundcover rose spreading to 2m (6′) wide. The ruffled, mid-pink flowers have a delicate, fruity perfume. It is a low maintenance plant which does not require pruning, just a light trim with hedge clippers.

‘Love’s Gift’
A tall shrub rose to 1.5m (5′) tall. The pink and white flowers hold their colour well without any fading.

‘Summer Glow’
This hybrid tea was bred by Ray Courage. It grows to about 1.5m (5′) tall. The clear yellow flowers are flushed with pink and have a classic, damask rose perfume. This rose is ideal as a cut flower. It does not need regular pruning.

Further information

Our segment was filmed at:
Ross Roses
St Andrew’s Terrace
(PO Box 23)
Willunga, SA, 5172
Phone: (08) 8556 2555
Fax: (08) 8556 2955

If you have difficulty finding roses in the True Blue collection, contact Ross Roses. They mail order to most areas of Australia.

Expect to pay $14-$16 for bare-rooted roses in winter. Prices may vary from state to state.